Why our graduates earn less today compared to 2010

Picture from Borneo Post

By John Isaac

An executive director recently took to social media to share her thoughts on why fresh graduates today earn less than they earning in 2010.

According to Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan, who heads the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC), there were numerous reasons why graduates were struggling.

Among them, she said were:

1. Fewer jobs for graduates are available despite there being more graduates,

2. Salaries have gone down in spite of increasing living costs,

3. There is a decline in demand for high-skilled jobs "in spite of the government telling us otherwise," and

4. Entry jobs are mostly sales and marketing.

Based on her observations, she said graduates these days had to be really outstanding, especially in soft skills to stand out in a crowd. 

Dr Mahaletchumy 

"But this is not the priority of both parents and students as one cannot score an 'A' with soft skills.

"Blindly doing Masters and PhD without a clear career goal does not pay off, instead might even be a double-edged sword," she said.

She said, essentials like a car, phone, rented house help graduates to secure a job, and poorer parents who cannot provide these will see their children struggle more. 

"Parents are pushed to support unemployed graduates. Parents need to do careful financial planning as early as pregnancy starts. I don't see this is most families. I see splurging at weddings and birthday parties," she said.

Also, she asked what is the government doing to increase employment in the country? 

"My field, biotechnology and biosciences is already neglected. Yet, we call for 60:40 science to arts ratio," she added.